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For the third straight season, the Penn men’s heavyweight rowing team will enter the IRA Championships with a fresh taste of defeat.

The Quakers lost all five of their races to Cornell last Friday morning on the Cayuga Inlet Lake in Ithaca, N.Y,, surrendering the Madeira Cup to the Big Red for the third consecutive year.

Penn coach Greg Myhr saw the race, his team’s last dual meet of the season, as a tremendous opportunity to prepare for the Championships.

“With Cornell having the great team they have, we knew this meet would be intense,” he said. “It seemed like an appropriate way to enter [the championships] that are coming up.”

Myhr is now more concerned with his squad’s performance last week. Penn’s Varsity Eight boat was the only one to finish its race in under six minutes, yet it still fell 15 seconds short of Cornell’s mark of 5:42.9.

Other individual races saw losses by margins of more than 20 seconds, though the Red and Blue’s Novice Eight took the Big Red right to the finish line, losing by only 8.6 seconds.

“We obviously wanted to finish with better results,” Myhr said. “There’s certainly room for improvement for us as we head forward.”

The Quakers’ final challenge of the spring season will be the IRA Regatta, held on the Cooper River in Camden, N.J., which begins today and runs through Saturday.

Myhr is pleased that his team qualified, but is looking to keep his rowers motivated.

“We just squeaked in [to the championships] this year,” he said. “But we’re not just going to be proud of ourselves for that. We’re going to go out there and give it all we’ve got, just as we’ve been doing all year.”

Last year, the Red and Blue had two boats participate in the IRA Regatta. Their Varsity Eight finished in 20th place overall, while their second varsity finished 10th.

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